HUDIBRAS BY SAMUEL BUTLER
Credits: This e-text was scanned, proofed and edited with a
glossary and translations from the Latin by Donal O' Danachair.
(email@example.com). The text is that of an edition
published in London, 1805. This e-text is hereby placed in the
Spelling and punctuation: These are the same as in the book as
far as possible. The AE and OE digraphs have been transcribed
as two letters. Greek words have been transliterated.
Notes: The notes are identified by letters in the text, thus: <a>.
In a few cases the note has no text reference: these are indicated <>.
Layout: the line numbers all end in col. 65. View this e-text in a
monospaced font such as Courier and they will all line up in the
Latin: All translations are by the transcriber. In the notes, they
immediately follow the Latin text in [square brackets].
Translations of Latin phrases in the poem are in the glossary.
Disclaimer: these translations are probably very inaccurate - I
am no great Latin scholar.
THE TIME OF THE LATE WARS
BY SAMUEL BUTLER, ESQ.
TO THE READER.
Poeta nascitur non fit, [poets are born, not made] is a sentence
of as great truth as antiquity; it being most certain, that all the
acquired learning imaginable is insufficient to compleat a poet,
without a natural genius and propensity to so noble and sublime
an art. And we may, without offence, observe, that many very
learned men, who have been ambitious to be thought poets,
have only rendered themselves obnoxious to that satyrical
inspiration our Author wittily invokes:
Which made them, though it were in spight
Of nature and their stars, to write.
On the one side some who have had very little human learning,
but were endued with a large share of natural wit and parts,
have become the most celebrated (Shakespear, D'Avenant, &c.)
poets of the age they lived in. But, as these last are, "Rarae aves
in terris," so, when the muses have not disdained the assistances
of other arts and sciences, we are then blessed with those lasting
monuments of wit and learning, which may justly claim a kind
of eternity upon earth. And our author, had his modesty
permitted him, might, with Horace, have said,
Exegi monumentum aere perennius:
[I have raised a memorial more lasting than bronze]
Or, with Ovid,
Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignis,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
[For I have raised a work which neither the rage of Jupiter,
Nor fire, nor iron, nor consuming age can destroy.]
The Author of this celebrated Poem was of this his last
composition: for although he had not the happiness of an
academical education, as some affirm, if may be perceived,
throughout his whole Poem, that he had read much, and was
very well accomplished in the most useful parts of human
Rapin (in his reflections) speaking of the necessary qualities
belonging to a poet, tells us, he must have a genius
extraordinary; great natural gifts; a wit just, fruitful, piercing,
solid, and universal; an understanding clear and distinct; an
imagination neat and pleasant; an elevation of soul, that
depends not only on art or study, but is purely the gift of
heaven, which must be sustained by a lively sense and vivacity;
judgment to consider wisely of things, and vivacity for the
beautiful expression of them, &c.
Now, how justly this character is due to our Author, we leave to
the impartial reader, and those of nicer judgment, who had the
happiness to be more intimately acquainted with him.
The reputation of this incomparable Poem is so thoroughly
established in the world, that it would be superfluous, if not
impertinent, to endeavour any panegyric upon it. King Charles
II. whom the judicious part of mankind will readily
acknowledge to be a sovereign judge of wit, was so great an
admirer of it, that he would often pleasantly quote it in his
conversation. However, since most men have a curiosity to have